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Halloween spending to reach record $9.1 billion

Staff Reports • Updated Oct 10, 2017 at 12:00 PM

WASHINGTON – With more people celebrating, Americans will splurge on costumes, candy and pumpkins for a record $9.1 billion in Halloween spending this year, according to an annual survey released recently by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics. 

The figure is up 8.3 percent from last year’s previous record of $8.4 billion.

“Americans are planning to spend more than ever as they gear up for Halloween,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Retailers are helping customers celebrate in style with a huge selection of costumes, candy and decorations to cater to ghosts and goblins of all ages.”

Consumers are expected to spend an average $86.13, up from last year’s $82.93, with 179 million Americans planning to partake in Halloween festivities, up from 171 million in 2016. Only 12.9 percent said their spending would be impacted by the economy, down from 14.1 percent last year and a peak of 32.1 percent in 2011.

According to the survey, consumers plan to spend $3.4 billion on costumes purchased by 69 percent of Halloween shoppers, $2.7 billion on candy at 95 percent, another $2.7 billion on decorations at 72 percent and $410 million on greeting cards at 37 percent.

Among Halloween celebrants, 71 percent plan to hand out candy, 49 percent will decorate their home or yard, 48 percent will wear costumes, 46 percent will carve a pumpkin, 35 percent will throw or attend a party, 31 percent will take their children trick-or-treating, 23 percent will visit a haunted house and 16 percent will dress pets in costumes.

Thirty-five percent of consumers will find their inspiration for the perfect costume online, while 30 percent will look in stores, 20 percent will ask friends and family, 18 percent will look to Facebook or Pinterest, 17 percent will be influenced by pop culture and 14 percent by print media.

When it comes to buying costumes and other Halloween supplies, 47 percent of shoppers will visit discount stores and 38 percent will go to a specialty Halloween store or costume store. In addition, 25 percent will visit supermarkets, 24 percent will buy at department stores and 22 percent will shop online.

“Halloween continues to be a highly anticipated holiday for Americans, who will spend a record amount this year with increases across all purchasing categories,” said Prosper Insights principal analyst Pam Goodfellow. “Expect consumers to be on the lookout for early-bird promotions both online and in-store as they hunt for the best items to complete their costumes and embellish their homes.”

Top Costumes

More than 3.7 million children plan to dress as their favorite action character or superhero, 2.9 million as Batman characters and another 2.9 million as their favorite princess, while 2.2 million will dress as a cat, dog, monkey or other animal.

Costumes ranked by children include: 

• Action or superhero, 7.1 percent.

• Batman character, 5.5 percent.

• Princess, 5.5 percent.

• Animal – cat, dog, monkey, etc., 4.1 percent.

• Spider-Man, 3.6 percent.

• Star Wars character, 3.1 percent.

• Witch, 3 percent.

• Marvel superhero, excluding Spider-Man, 2.9 percent.

• Pirate, 2.9 percent.

• Disney Princess, 2.3 percent

Proving that Halloween isn’t just for children, a record number of adults or 48 percent plan to dress in costume this year. More than 5.8 million adults plan to dress like a witch, 3.2 million as their favorite Batman character, 3 million as an animal such as a cat, dog, cow, etc., and 2.8 million as a pirate.

Costumes ranked by adults include:

• Witch, 8.5 percent.

• Batman character such as Batman, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, etc., 4.7 percent.

• Animal such as cat, dog, etc., 4.3 percent.

• Pirate, 4.1 percent.

• Marvel superhero such as Spider-Man, Captain America, etc., 3.8 percent.

• Vampire, 3.1 percent.

• Zombie, 2.6 percent.

• DC Comics superhero, excluding Batman and Wonder Woman, 2.3 percent.

• Star Wars character, 2.3 percent.

• Slasher movie villain such as Jason, Scream, etc., 2.3 percent.

• Wonder Woman, 2.2 percent.

Pets won’t be left behind when it comes to dressing up for Halloween. Ten percent of pet lovers will dress their animal in a pumpkin costume, while 7 percent will dress their cat or dog as a hot dog and 4 percent as a dog, lion or pirate. 

Costumes ranked for pets include:

• Pumpkin, 9.6 percent

• Hot dog, 7.1 percent.

• Dog, lion or pirate, 3.5 percent.

• Bumblebee, 3.3 percent.

• Devil, 3.0 percent.

• Batman character, 2.8 percent.

• Ghost, 2.6 percent.

• Cat, 2.5 percent.

• Witch, 2.2 percent.

• Star Wars character, 2.2 percent.

The survey asked 7,013 consumers about Halloween shopping plans. It was conducted Sept. 5-13 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

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